No one really knows what sparked the statement from the Liberian Chief Executive, but on Thursday, December 8, 2016, at Bella Casa Hotel in Sinkor during a three-day Revision of Liberia Women’s Manifesto Framework - 2017 aimed at moving what was started in 2005 geared towards advocating for the elections of women at different levels in government, President Sirealf told the gathering of mostly women that if it comes to the presidency, the women of Liberia should rather channel their energies towards seeking more seats at the National Legislature instead of seeking the presidency.
President Sirleaf informed the women gathering that any woman who aspires for the presidency of Liberia in 2017 has no chance at stake; rather they should concentrate running for legislative positions.
However, an Executive Mansion spin to the president’s downplay of female political representation stated, “the Liberian leader used the occasion to inform the women that even though they may not be lucky to win the presidency during the upcoming 2017 elections, she however urged the women to be ready for the political game adding: “We need to work for it in order to earn it…” she told the women.
Despite the President’s rather lukewarm reception to women candidacy for the presidency in 2017, one woman who seems determined to make a difference is MacDella Cooper.
“This is not about us as women. It is about what all of us as Liberians can do to change the dire situation that affects our country. Making a difference in Liberia doesn’t have to be brought down to the level of gender. Every one of us must rise up and say: yes, it’s about time to make sure that no child is left behind when it comes to education; no Liberian should be deprived of basic healthcare and social services,” Cooper tells Capitol Times.
Since declaring her intention to contest the Liberian presidency recently under the wing of a local grassroots political party, the Union of Liberian Democrats (ULD), MacDella Cooper says she continues to face mounting challenges not only by the mis-education by a handful of males, but equally from women who feel disappointed by failed policies of government.
“It’s a tough sell, but we knew the road wasn’t going to be easy. I'm not coming in this space as a woman. I'm a candidate first, that happens to be a woman. If I need to fight, I will fight like a man," say MacDella Cooper.
Bong County Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor, who heads the National Patriotic Party as Standard Bearer, is also considered a top contender for 2017 presidential slot, although her party is said to have joined the newly formed Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).
Madam Taylor could not be reached for comments up to publication time, but it is widely believed from sources within the CDC that she is unlikely to support President Sirleaf’s assertion that the women of Liberia have absolutely zero chance of ascending to the presidency in 2017.